Ashes and Eggs

Ukrainian eggs — called ‘Pysanky’ — are exquisite. 

Some years ago while visiting Daughter #1 in Vancouver I learned how to make them.

I proudly displayed my one beautiful egg in my china cupboard . . . until it was accidentally dropped by some little hands. 

I was sad, but this past Christmas, the mother of that dear child, gave me Pysanky tools and I am having such fun decorating eggs.

‘Pysanky’ is from the Ukrainian verb meaning ‘to write.’  

In carefully ordered steps, with a wax melting tool called a ‘kistka,’ designs and symbols are written on the egg, then dipped in strong dyes.

Ukrainians have been creating these Easter treasures for centuries, the designs and symbols represent God stories and hopes and prayers.

Like I said, I love learning to ‘write’ these eggs and I felt extra-happy last month when my beautiful Ukrainian friend came for lunch and we created eggs together.  

* * * * * * * * *

Last week a writing friend asked me, “Why do we write? Why do some of us have this need to write our stories?” 

We named our motivations: 

Writing helps us sort our thoughts. 

Through writing we learn and we teach.

We write because we feel compelled to share our stories, to challenge and encourage others.

I write because I want my grandchildren, along with all my readers, to know and remember God’s constant love and amazing grace for them.

And there is another reason I write, a simple, perhaps selfish reason.

I write because writing, like creating Pysanky eggs, gives me joy.

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The news these days is full of the Russian aggressive invasion of Ukraine.

It is totally wrong. Totally heart-breaking.

I’ve been using some words written long ago to pray for the brave Ukrainian people:

O Lord, protect the people of Ukraine, rescue them, bend down and listen to them, rescue them quickly. Be for Ukraine a rock of safety, a fortress where their enemies cannot reach them. Lead them out of this peril. Pull them from the trap. May they find protection from you. Rescue them, Lord, for You are a faithful God. Psalm 31:1-5

May God have mercy!

* * * * * * * * *

Day after tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 Lenten days before Easter. 

The ashes that will be written as a cross on my forehead are meant to remind me that I come from dust and someday I will return to dust. Life is short.

This year they will also speak of the ashes of war.

Fires and death and deep sorrow.

In stark contrast, I want my Pysanky eggs to remind me of the promise of Easter and all the spiritual eternal treasures we have from God.

May they speak to me of the beauty of Christ.

Life and Love and Joy.

Ashes and eggs, war and peace, hell and heaven…. it is hard, but good to think on these things.

And to keep praying for Ukraine and for ourselves.

Dear Lord, have mercy on us all!

3 thoughts on “Ashes and Eggs

  1. Sarah, LOVE this story of the Ukrainian eggs, writing your story with them, the hope of Easter….. beautiful art work!
    what a timely word/reminder as the tragic attack on Ukraine continues.


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